Marriage of 
 Elena Nikolayevna Kursheva 
 Adrian John Worsfold 

 Park Street Unitarian Church 
 2:30 pm  July 14th  2001 



There are three candles, and as the groom [Adrian] arrives with his supporters, the minister lights that candle nearest Adrian.

The groom [Adrian] waits at the front with his best men; the bride is at the door. Music playing becomes the music of hymn 117 ("Beethoven") when the bride [Elena] enters and comes to join the groom, accompanied by the person giving her away. The minister [Ernest Penn] then lights the candle nearest the bride, leaving the one in the middle unlit, before proceeding.

Ladies and gentlemen of the congregation: we are gathered here today before this company to join [Yi-lienna] Elena and Adrian in marriage according to the rites and customs of this country and this Church, to remind them of the significance of the marriage bond, and to pray for them for their future together. It is good that you are all here today, to participate in their wedding and support them as they make their promises to each other.

It is therefore fitting to bear in mind that marriage is a most sacred institution of humankind. In this holy place we recognise the love of Adrian and [Yi-lienna] Elena for one another now being placed into the recognised institution of marriage, which has been consecrated and made holy by the faithful keeping of good men and women in every generation.

{Declaration of no impediment}

I require and charge you both, in your responsibility to society and to each other, that if either of you know any impediment to why you may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, you do now confess it.

Bridegroom {repeating}: I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, Adrian John Worsfold, may not be joined in matrimony to [Yi-lienna Niko-lie-ev-na Koo-sheyva] Elena Nikolayevna Kursheva.

Bride {repeating}: I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, [Yi-lienna Niko-lie-ev-na Koo-sheyva] Elena Nikolayevna Kursheva, may not be joined in matrimony to Adrian John Worsfold.

{Prayers and hymn}

Let us enter a time of prayer and contemplation:

The future lies ahead
And as it passes
The past becomes longer

Use the passing of time to gain wisdom together
Make the best of each day
Do these to glorify your beliefs, your community and your nations

Seek from your experiences pure and clean minds
Draw on the heavenly sunlight and build an earthly paradise
And take love and blessings as they come

{Adapted from a Zoroastrian prayer}

Above us are the stars
Below us the stones
As time passes

Like a star let love shine brightly,
Like a stone let love be strong;
Be close, developing your own personalities together:
Possess one another and yet understand each other;
Patience is a virtue
For storms shall come, but can go quickly;
Have freedom in giving affection and warmth:
Make love with one another and be sensuous;
Have no fear
But go into the future
Boldly, together, in love.

{Adapted from Slater, A. (1978), A Book of Pagan Rituals, London: Robert Hale.}

We sing hymn number 36, Star Born, in Hymns for Living

{Before the vows}

[Yi-lienna] Elena and Adrian are about to make their marriage vows, but first I wish again to address the congregation. Your close ties and associations with [Yi-lienna] Elena and Adrian, both recently and from long ago, give support and strength to them as they prepare to make their vows. Their marriage is public, and you are their witnesses, for the understanding and mutual respect which they invest in their marriage have their roots in the love, friendship and guidance you have given them in your ties with them.

Marriage makes us aware of the changes wrought by time, of new things we see in each other, of companionship and its importance, of shared joys and sorrows as we grow together.

Adrian and [Yi-lienna] Elena in their marriage will continue to draw beauty and meaning from your experience and support as represented here today by your presence, as together they build their future.


Adrian and [Yi-lienna] Elena, you are about to enter into the union of marriage. It is the drawing into one experience of two, your minds, spirits and bodies, requiring of you, as with all those who enter into it, a complete and unresolved giving of yourselves into the union.

Adrian, will you take [Yi-lienna] Elena to be your lawful wedded wife, to live faithfully together in marriage, from this day forward, to love her and cherish her, forsaking all others, so long as you both shall live?

Adrian: I will

[Yi-lienna] Elena, will you take Adrian to be your lawful wedded husband, to live faithfully together in marraige, from this day forward, to love him and cherish him, forsaking all others, so long as you both shall live?

Elena: I will.

Who gives [Yi-lienna] Elena to be married to Adrian?

Supporter: I do.

{The bride and groom turn towards each other.}

{Adrian takes Elena's right hand in his right hand.}

Adrian: {repeating after the minister in sections}I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, Adrian John Worsfold, do take thee, [Yi-lienna Niko-lie-ev-na Koo-sheyva] Elena Nikolayevna Kursheva, to be my lawful wedded wife. I promise to be faithful to you, serve you and honour you, in good and difficult times, for as long as we both shall live.

{Now keeping their right hands together, Elena's left hand takes Adrian's left hand. Thus all hands are joined.}

Elena: {repeating after the minister in sections} I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, [Yi-lienna Niko-lie-ev-na Koo-sheyva] Elena Nikolayevna Kursheva, do take thee, Adrian John Worsfold, to be my lawful wedded husband. I promise to be faithful to you, serve you and honour you, in good and difficult times, for as long as we both shall live.

Each of you take the other as the love of your heart, build the other as the substance of your dreams, and share with one another the fruits of your labours, as now you two travel ahead together.

{Ring, chain and middle candle}

We come now to the symbolic exchange of these vows of natural materials crafted in diverse human hands.

The ring and the chain symbolise the promises Adrian and [Yi-lienna] Elena have made to each other. They, if different, are brought together in exchange. They are of a journey of two now taken together, of difference brought to understanding and one mind, stillness and movement, sadness and laughter, grief and joy. These represent giving to the other, receiving from the other and being individuals but of one purpose.

Adrian {placing the ring on Elena's finger}: With this ring I give you my earthly worship, I share with you my worldly goods, I give my all to you; you have me for you, you are my precious one.

Elena {placing the chain around Adrian's head}: With this chain I give you my earthly worship, I share with you my worldly goods, I give my all to you; you have me for you, you are my precious one.

{Elena and Adrian come to one another facing the congregation, with no space between them, letting all the candles be seen, and the minister lights the unlit candle, leaving three lit}

By this exchange, and the lighting of the candle, and the vows you have made, you declare yourselves wedded to each other, and have now solemnly pledged yourselves to be together in this bond, taking each other as husband and wife.

For as much as [Yi-lienna] Elena and Adrian have pledged themselves, before society, this Church and its company gathered here, to live faithfully in marriage, I now pronounce them Wife and Husband. [Yi-lienna] Elena and Adrian, this company here gathered recognises and blesses your marriage.

{Adrian and Elena embrace one another with a kiss}

{Registrar signing}

Let us pray

Let there be blessings upon you both, so that you keep your vows made here in this holy place, which no one else can break, and, henceforth, be together in peace and love, stengthening and helping one another, and having that joy which does not pass away.

There now follows a musical interlude during which the parties and the witnesses sign the marriage register.

{The registrar comes forward during a musical interlude for the signing of the register.}

{Short address}

Members of this congregation. We have witnessed the marriage of two people who came together as a process of contemporary times. Adrian, who we have known here from 1984 was brought up in Hull, having been born in Hornsea and lived variously in other parts of England. Having access to the Internet he found [Yi-lienna] Elena. In one sense she has had a very different life. Born in the Ukraine, she was brought up in Voronezh. Both have passed through many years of university education, though Elena is a scientist and Adrian a social scientist by training. Both have a similar experience of strong bonds with their immediate families and close friendships with others.

In order to meet both made a leap of faith and took the risk to bring their email messages to realisation; [Yi-lienna] Elena came to Britain in January this year, and whereas email can be a deceptive medium, and people who think they like each other find the subsequent reality disappointing, [Yi-lienna] Elena and Adrian found themselves even more attracted to each other, enjoying a similarity of personalities in a deep, tolerant and loving sense. It was during this first meeting that both realised how well they related to each other, and it was during an email conversation back to her friend in Russia that Adrian told [Yi-lienna] Elena to tell her friend not only did he like her appearance and other impressions but he very much related to her personality and would marry her; and she in turn said she felt very easy with him.

[Yi-lienna] Elena then had to go back home to Russia, at which they discussed the situation carefully tackling the inevitable difficulties ahead, as well as their likely joys, and then proceeded to make her application to the British Embassy for a fiancee visa that would result in this marriage and a life together. For [Yi-lienna] Elena this is quite a transition of language and culture, from a culture of its own strong patriotic traditions, history and identity, yet now entering upon great uncertainty, to our own more plural but currently more stable if changing traditions, a change for which she will receive the full support of her husband. And in turn [Yi-lienna] Elena can offer Adrian and his personal uncertainties her support. And here they are, together, joined, entering the future, giving each other mutual support, and a happiness and joy which is their sure foundation for moving forward, for which marriage is the perfect and natural expression.

{Closing hymn and words}

To give them support let us now sing hymn number 226, Song of Peace, in Hymns for Living, sung to the tune of Finlandia.

Think not that you have finished anything here today. This service is but the mark of a beginning!

In marriage, speak to one another carefully. When you speak, speak courteously. Speak with an economy of words and an honesty of words, in moderate tones and volume, whilst keeping in mind the sensitivities of the other.

Listen to one another carefully. Do not just hear them - listen! Ask yourself first what the other is really saying.

See one another carefully. What does the other face show? Read its brightness, its happiness, its sadness, its boredom, its anger. Touch one another carefully. Feel the warmth of the other. Do not forget to hold one another in times of need. Take in the beauty of one another.

Be more patient
Be more understanding
Grow together


{Music to end - the Wedding March}